The most fun of any sports video game I have is when I open the box for the first time and fire it up to play with my favorite team. While I have the unfortunate problem of rooting for Cleveland in professional sports (although the LeBron years made NBA Live and 2k a lot more fun), it has always been a fresh start that very first time to see how my team reacts, how the players are rendered, how I can make plays come alive.
That's the beauty of games like NCAA Football or Madden. Even when the teams you play with are far from perfect, the score is 0-0 when you begin. No amount of built-in bias or difficulty can take that clean slate away in each new game.
Playing with Wake Forest in NCAA Football brings its own set of challenges. You don't get the breakaway speed of Clemson, the bullrushing power of Florida State, the quarterbacking precision of Southern Cal or the steamrolling strength of a Wisconsin. Instead, you have to resort to efficient playcalling and a more realistic set of standards -- Jim Grobe football becomes more than just what a Wake fan is used to; it's how you win with the Demon Deacons.
Field position becomes critical. Calling the right play on second down to set up a manageable third down is magnified. Converting on third and short could be the difference between a makable field goal on a drive or being forced to punt it away and trust the defense. There is no room for error, and somehow it's fitting.
Wake Forest has made its mark on the the ACC in the last decade through razor-thin margins, luck and big plays one way or the other. While the Deacs don't play imposing football, every game is entertaining. And as much as it's fun to see your team blow out an opponent or to win 56-0 in a video game, there's more energy and drama to a close finish, even if it causes your blood pressure to rise a few points and the disappointments outweigh the moments of elation at times.
So while I'm sure plenty of people will rush to play with LSU or Alabama once they get that pesky plastic wrapping off the cover, I'll be sticking with what I know -- heartbreak or not.
This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.